Learn everything you need to know about wedge loft, bounce, grinds and more!
When most people think about pro golfers, they think about how far they hit the ball and all the different types of shots they can hit. What normally doesn’t come to mind is just how good these guys are with a wedge in their hands. Most people don’t realize the importance of good wedge play and how much time pros spend working on their wedges.
Make sure to check out our post on the best wedges for high handicappers after you read this!.
Wedges are your scoring clubs! no point hitting it 300 yards of the tee if you cant knock it close with your wedge shot.
Did you know that short game shots account for over 50% of your round? so if your trying to break 90,80 or even 70, the key is improving your wedge play!
However, before you start getting to work on the range and chipping areas, there are a some very important wedge features you need to understand and familiarize yourself with. This is in order to firstly, ensure you’re playing with the right wedges for your playing ability and swing type. Secondly that you understand how the clubs actually work and the best wedge variations to put in your bag. Thirdly, so that if or when you decide to buy knew wedges you know what to look out for!
What We’ll Be Covering
Wedges Explained – Wedge Types
Nowadays there are 4 main category of wedges, however this wasn’t always the case. Historically a golf set would only have 2 wedges, one being a pitching wedge (PW) and the other being a sand wedge (SW). While there is wiggle room for exact loft specifications. The two additions have been a gap wedge (GW) also known as an attack wedge (AW) and a lob wedge (LW).
4 Main Wedge Types – (standard lofts)
- Pitching Wedge (PW) 46 degree
- Gap Wedge/Attack Wedge (GW/AW)- 52 degree
- Sand Wedge (SW)- 56 degree
- Lob Wedge (LW)- 60 degree
The above list showcases the standard lofts for each wedge, however in recent years there has been some wiggle room with exact lofts for each wedge. For example a PW could technically be anywhere from 46 to 50 degrees, while other wedges may vary 2 degrees either way depending on what you choose.
Loft Variations & Combinations
A wedge can be anywhere from 46 to 65 degrees and generally go up in 2 degree increments (with some exceptions). That’s why its important you know your loft variations and select the right ones to put in your bag.
Loft Variations Per Wedge
- Pitching wedge- 46,47,48 (sometimes 50)
- Gap Wedge- 50,52
- Sand wedge- 54,56
- Lob wedge- 58,60 (and sometimes 65)
Depending on your level of playing ability, we recommend you carry 3-4 wedges. If your a beginner, we would recommend only carrying 3, while more advanced golfers should consider carrying 4 wedges.
Loft combinations for Beginners
Beginners don’t need 4 wedges because firstly, your only allowed 14 clubs and you’d get more use having an extra wood or hybrid. Secondly you don’t have the skill level yet, wedges are hard to hit for beginners, particularly the more lofted ones. As you progress you can add a fourth wedge if necessary.
We recommend a PW, GW & SW combinations for beginners (46,52, 56). No lob wedge needed for the time being!, you have all you need to get you started with this combination. The wedge here that will help you the most is the GW, it fills the gap for those shots your in-between a PW and a SW. (Hence the name Gap Wedge).
Loft Combinations for more advanced players
More advanced players have a bit more flexibility when selecting wedges. It really comes down to personal preference and what suits your playing style. firstly you must decide if you going to carry 3 or 4 wedges, in order to select the best combination for your golf game.
3 Wedge combo- Here you would be using only 3 wedges and we would advice you have a 6 degree increment per wedge. This increment allows you to best cover your various distances with only 3 wedges. So for example, you would have a 46 degree PW, 52 degree GW and a 58 degree LW.
4 Wedge combo- Here you would be using 4 wedges and we would advice you have a 4 degree increment per wedge. This is the most popular wedge combo although most do not fully adhere to the 4 degree increment. Ideally here you would have a 46 degree PW, 50 degree GW, 54 degree SW and a 58 degree LW.
What you will normally see here is a combo of – 46 degree PW, 52 degree GW, 56 degree SW and a 60 LW. Gap wedges are most commonly sold as 52 degrees and people normally go up in four degree increments from here.
Bounce is something that can be overlooked by those who aren’t fully aware of its importance and how it works.
The Bounce of a wedge is effectively the angle created between the leading edge and the trailing edge of the clubhead sole. The higher the bounce of a wedge the higher the leading edge is from the ground at address.
Low Bounce Wedges (4-6 degrees)- Are generally for people who play on firm golf courses where you would regularly have tight lies. People who have shallow angle of attacks would also find low bounce wedges more effective. low bounce wedges effectively allow you to get under the ball easier, which is very useful from tight lies. They would also be more suited to a lob wedge as opposed to less lofted wedges like a gap wedge.
Mid Bounce Wedges (7-10 degrees)- Are generally better for courses with a more average firmness of ground. While they can be used on all types of ground they are most suited to normal conditions, they are most common in a sand wedge or gap wedge. They are the most common bounce as they can be used by both steep or shallow angles of attack. However, they are most suited to neutral angles of attack.
High Bounce Wedges (10 degrees or higher)- Are generally used for courses with softer ground. For example, they would be more suited to a soft parkland rather then a links course. Not ideal for tight lies as with the high bounce, it can be difficult to get under the ball. More suited to fluffier lies and also very useful from bunkers.
To find out more on the perfect bounce and loft variation for you visit – https://www.vokey.com/explained/wedge-bounce
Wedges Explained- Different Types Of Grinds
Originally all golf wedges would of been made with a fairly standard design. However, now with the vast amount of people playing golf and all the different swing types, most manufacturers offer different grind types to fit their needs. The Grind design is effectively the sole design of the club, grinds can vary depending on the manufacturer, but almost all provide some variety of grinds. The Grind is an important aspect of wedge design as it can manipulate how the leading edge interacts with the turf on contact.
In order to explain grinds, we will focus on the Vokey SM 8 grind designs, featured below. You should take note of the different sole designs as a result of the grind.
Vokey SM 8 Grinds
F Grind – described as an all purpose grind, which is most suited for full shots rather than for opening the face hitting flop shots.
M Grind- this grind is more for those who like to manipulate face of the wedge. For example those who like to open up the face and hit flop shots but also like to close it down to hit low shots. Ideal for players who have shallow angle of attacks.
S Grind- Notice here how there’s a grind at the trailing edge? this provides a feeling of a faster movement through the ground. This grind is best suited to players who like to manipulate the loft with their hands. This could be by either pressing your hands ahead or behind the ball.
D Grind- this grind is said to allow for versatility and provides forgiveness for steep angles of attack. this grind design blends from the heel, toe and trailing edge, as seen in the above image.
K Grind- this grind is said to be the best from the bunkers, its also the wedge with the highest bounce. As you can see from the image, its a full sole wedge which also provides great forgiveness.
L Grind- this grind features the lowest bounce of all the grinds. the l grind offers heel, toe and trailing edge relief, which allows for greater shot options. this grind is more suited to low handicap golfers as it requires more precision striking.
We hope this post has helped you understand more about how wedges work! were sure you’ll be able to make better purchasing decisions next time your upgrading your wedges!.
What degree is a pitching wedge? A pitching wedge is traditionally 46 degrees, however they can range anywhere from 46 to 50 degrees.
What degree is a sand wedge? A sand wedge is traditionally 56 degrees, but they can also vary. Some sand wedges can vary from 54 to 57 degrees.
what’s better, sand wedge bounce of 10 or 14? Both bounces are high, however 10 degrees of bounce is probably more suited to all styles of golf swings and courses. It all depends on your swing style and the firmness of the turf where you play your golf.